Title: The System
Author: Ross Nover
Start Date: 2008
Update Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays (Note: May miss updates.)
There’s no real plot or set characters. The comic uses AIGA pictograms (known under other names worldwide: “Helvetica Man,” “Bathroom Sign Guy,” “Isotypes,” etc.) and constructs them into gag strips. A majority of the strips tend to be based around the author’s life, either his career as a graphic designer or his own personal observations. Others are random or recurring gags.
Recommended Age Group: 15 and up. There’s lots of cursing in this comic.
The way Nover manipulates the pictograms makes them amazingly expressive. There are several pictograms that don’t exist in reality, so his use of PhotoShop to get the desired effect works to his advantage.
It’s also very easy to make guest strips! The author welcomes the use of them at every opportunity. The pictograms are available for free (see the above link in the synopsis), so if you have PhotoShop or even something cheaper, you can have your guest strips featured on his site.
This comic can be very easily compared to another popular webcomic, XKCD. I’m willing to excuse this problem, however, because aside from the obvious difference in aesthetics (stick figures versus sign figures), the comics are actually far more distinct than one might expect.
XKCD assumes its readers are smarter than they need to be. It focuses on humor relating to complex subjects such as math, philosophy, and science. Readers with minimal knowledge in these fields may be stuck without context of the jokes being told, forcing them to use Google or Wikipedia just to understand a single strip. The System is far more simplistic with its subject matter, avoiding much of the terminology that would require research.
I give this comic a wholehearted recommendation. If you’re a fan of XKCD, you might actually come to like this. If you’re not, you may actually find this comic easier to transition into. The art is easier on the eyes and more consistent (let’s face it: even for stick figures, XKCD is rather ugly) and it’s funny without being confusing.